Raccoons are smart, stealthy and extremely messy. It is no coincidence that they wear the mask of a bandit. Here are some tips for keeping your garbage in the can, where it belongs.
Purchase trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
Use a bungee cord to secure the lid to the can. Hook one end of the cord to the handle on the can, run it through the handle on the lid and secure on the opposite side.
Wrap particularly stinky garbage in double plastic bags before placing it in the garbage. Melon rinds and corn cobs are favorites of hungry raccoons.
Use motion detection sprinklers or lighting near the trash can area. Stealthy raccoons will shy away from detection.
Leave an article of human scented clothing near the trash can area.
Dust the trash can lids with baby powder. Raccoons don't like the feel of dust on their paws.
Consider enclosing the trash bin area with fencing. There must be no gaps between boards or gates. Think Fort Knox.
Place a heavy object, such as a cinder block or a brick, on top of the garbage can - the heavier the better.
Play a portable radio near the garbage area at night. Select an 'all-talk' station. Keep the volume low if neighbors are nearby.
Place mothballs around the garbage area. The unpleasant scent will mask the inviting odor of ripe garbage from sensitive raccoon noses.
Cover any outdoor garbage cans. Eliminating these smells, including the smell of rotting food, will make your property seem less enticing. Weight down the can's lid with a cinder blocks or wood chunks to make it more difficult for the raccoons to remove the lids or tip over the cans.
Pour 1/4 cup ammonia over the garbage cans. The raccoons will be repelled by this unpleasant odor.
Install motion-activated flood lights around your property. When the raccoon steps onto your lawn or driveway, the lights will trigger and frighten the raccoons away.
Remove any pet food and water from the yard. The raccoons will see your dog's (or cat's) leftovers as a tasty snack.
Move your barbecue grill into a garage or shed when not in use. The raccoons will be attracted to the odors of the grill and move in for a closer look.
Chop up one large yellow onion into thin slices and set these slices around your yard or garden. The offensive, strong smell of the onions will keep the raccoons at bay.
Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your home, garden or near your trash can. The raccoons will either be repelled initially by the smell of the pepper or will run away once the curious animal licks the hot pepper.
Do Not Attract
One of the best ways to keep raccoons out of your yard is to give them no reason to be there in the first place. Make sure all trash bins are sealed and in good condition and that pet food is not left outside. If you have bird feeders, bring them in at night. Raccoons are drawn to a food source; if there is nothing to eat, they will stay away.
Raccoons in the wild will naturally steer clear of the smell of their natural predators. Most hardware stores carry a range of repellents that generally consist of granules infused with the urine of foxes. Sprinkling these granules around trash cans, the house or even the garden borders will deter the raccoons from coming into the yard.
Making it hard to get into the yard is another good deterrent. Make sure your fence line is in good repair and that there are no gaps in or under the barrier. Raccoons are good climbers, so a reasonably high fence that has a smooth surface and is hard to climb can keep them out. Another, slightly more extreme alternative is to place an electrified wire around the outside of the fence. Touching the live wire once will send raccoons packing.